Last Minute Deal Reached to Avoid Government Shutdown

As Congress continues to wrangle over its budget bill and attempts to avert a government shutdown, full and timely military pay hangs in the balance — and Republicans are faulting Democrats for allowing that risk.

What could this mean for military members and their spouses? Their livelihood hangs in the balance and the government has until Midnight tonight to fix this issue.

What happens if the government shutdown this evening? The severity of this action depends on the length of time the government is shut down.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told troops in Iraq this week that their paychecks would be delayed if the government shuts down.

“First of all, let me say you will be paid,” he said. “As a historian it always occurred to me the smart thing for government was always to pay the guys with guns first. But in all seriousness, based on some stuff I read this morning, if the government shuts down starts on the 8th and goes for a week, you’d get a half a check. If it goes from the 15th to the 30th, you wouldn’t get a pay check on the 30th but you would be back paid for all of it.”

Now reflect on your own lives, how much would half or even an entire missed paycheck affect your life? Your ability to pay your bill or provide food for your family? Many of these families rely strictly on these earnings to make ends meet. While obviously there isn’t anything I can say or do to prevent the shutdown, after some research, I was able to find several charities and organizations that help in supporting our nation’s troops and their families.

These men and women risk their lives freely, every day. They have not been forced into the military by a draft and therefore to deny them their pay, even briefly is unjust and I am truly appalled the option is even there.

I am happy to learn that legislation to  protect the military pay is currently in the works and is quickly gaining support. My only fear is that it will come too late and those who protect our freedoms will still be effected.

CNN and news media sources are now announcing that a budget deal has been reached and therefore government shutdown has been avoided. President Obama made a live announcement:

Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government will be open for business. And that’s because today, Americans of different beliefs, came together again. In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shutdown, leaders in both parties reached an agreement that will allow our small businesses to get the loans they need, our families to get the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of Americans to show up at work and take home their paychecks on time. Including our brave men and women, in uniform.

Despite an agreement being reached, I find it important to list the many organizations that assist with Military Members and Families.

The following links are several organizations that help support US troops and their families. I believe I listed them all but in case, you can also visit here:

The Billy Blanks Foundation – The Billy Blanks Foundation was founded by the creator of Tae Bo. One of the foundations many projects is sending care packages to U.S. Servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Adopt a Platoon – Support the troops through gifts and sponsored mail.
Any Soldier – Sponsor care packages to servicemembers in Iraq.
Army and Air Force Exchange Services – Purchase gift certificates for active and hospitalized servicemembers.
Blue Star Mothers
– Organizes postcards to troops and care packages, and is currently petitioning Congress for reduced air fares for servicemembers.
Books for Soldiers – Donate books, movies, and more.
Cell Phones for Soldiers – Donate your old cell phones, which pay for calling cards for our troops.
Commissary Gift Certificates – Give the gift of groceries — buy or donate gift certificates.
DefendAmerica – Send a virtual thank-you card.
A Million Thanks – Collects emails and letters of appreciation for our armed forces.
Operation Air Conditioner – Help pay for air conditioners and heaters for the troops.
Operaton Dear Abbey – Send greetings and messages of support.
Operation Give – Donate toys to be given to the children of Iraq.
Operation Gratitude – Contribute to care packages sent to our servicemembers.
Operation Homefront Hugs – Contribute to care packages, or adopt a servicemember.
Operation Troop Aid – Provide care packages for our deployed U.S. Servicemembers.
Operation Uplink – Donate a calling card to help keep servicemembers in touch with their families.
Operation USO Care Package – Sponsor a care package for $25.
Treats for Troops – Purchase care packages for Soldiers.

Help with Mailing Packages
Instructions on Sending Mail to Servicemembers – Straight from the U.S. Postal Service, instructions and recommendations on sending individual mail to servicemembers.

Health Care, Hospice, and Recovery Organizations

The following charitable organizations offer programs that provide comfort and support to our wounded veterans and their families:

American Red Cross Armed Forces – Offers medical services to active duty, veterans, reservists and families nationwide.
Angels of Mercy / No Soldier Left in Need – Donate clothes to wounded soldiers returning stateside, or donate to long-term rehabilitation programs
Armed Services Blood Program – Donate blood that will be sent to areas of need around the world.
Blinded Veterans Association – Volunteer and scholarship organization provides care and support for blind veterans and their families.
CAUSE: Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services Elite
– Provides comfort items for troops recuperating in military hospitals and rehabilitation centers from wounds and injuries.
Fisher House – Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.
VA Voluntary Service – Volunteer to help care for wounded veterans.
The Walter Reed Society – Walter Reed Society helps provide for the needs of many returning injured servicemembers and their families.
USO – Donations to the USO pay for hospital support for recuperating soldiers, USO entertainment tours and other important services.

Transition, Scholarships and Vocation Rehabilitation

These organizations provide transitions services, scholarships and vocational programs to help servicemembers and their families re-integrate in to the civilian world.

The Billy Blanks Foundation – The Billy Blanks Foundation was founded by the creator of Tae Bo. The foundation offers scholarships and support for after school programs.
The Freedom Alliance – Organizes donations and contributions for our servicemembers, and also awards scholarships.
Operation One Family – Helps provide life skills, education and continuing support for the families of our fallen military heroes.
Operation Purple – National Military Family Association (NMFA) volunteer program provides educational camps for military children.
Sacred Heart Lodge – Provides a cost free hassle free vacation to those Soldier’s who are returning from War to reconnect to their Families.
Soldiers’ Angels – Support group aids wounded Soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, and phone calls, etc., and also sends thanks via letters and email to the U.S. military and its allies.

Counseling and Other Relief and Support Organizations

The following organizations provide a wide range of services and support for our troops and wounded veterans including counseling, financial support, housing, emergency services and more:

Air Force Aid Society – Official support and relief organization for Air Force servicemembers, veterans, and families.
American Legion – Organizes blood donation, volunteer networks, purchase flags of support, and more.
The Armed Forces Foundation – Provides support and education help to our troops.
Armed Forces Relief Trust – Combination of the major military relief societies takes donations to help servicemembers.
Armed Services YMCA – Provides educational, recreational, social and religious support to the military.
Army Emergency Relief – Official support and relief organization for Army servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance – Major support and relief organization for Coast Guard servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Enduring Freedom K.I.A. Fund – Gives financial aid to families of servicemembers killed in action.
Fallen Patriot Fund – Accepts donations to send to families of those who fell in combat.
Freedom Calls Foundation – Contribute to videoconferencing facilities that put servicemembers in touch with their families.
Freedom Fund – Send letters of thanks to the troops, or donate to funds that support deploying servicemembers.
Global War on Terrorism Veterans In Need – Provides support programs for returning disabled servicemembers.
The Home Front Cares – Provides support for the Pikes Peak Region’s military families of all services by distributing funds, goods and services to needy families.
Homes for Our Troops – Assists injured veterans and their families by building new or adapting existing homes for handicapped accessibility.
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund – Fund provides unrestricted grants to the families of military personnel who have given their lives in the current operations in defense of our country.
Military Pets Foster Project – Nationwide network of foster homes cares for the pets of deployed personnel.
Navy/Marine Relief Society – Official support and relief organization for Navy servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Operation Child Care – Provides child care services for the families of Reserve and National Guard members.
Operation Hero Miles – Donate your unused frequent flyer files to servicemembers.
Sacred Heart Lodge – Provides a cost free hassle free vacation to those Soldier’s who are returning from War to reconnect to their Families.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation – Provides college scholarship grants, financial aid and educational counseling to the children of Special Operations personnel killed in an operational mission or training accident.
The Survivors of Servicemembers SOS Fund – Provides funds to families who have lost a loved one in Iraq.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) – Provides services and support for survivors of late servicemembers.
Unmet Needs – Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) program donates money to help with military families’ financial necessities.
Veterans and Families – Sacramento, California-based organization is building support services for returning veterans.
Veterans of Foreign Wars – Features a full range of veteran services and advocacy programs.
Wounded Warriors Fund – Donates everything from phone cards to TVs to wounded soldiers.
Yellow Ribbon America – Show your support with a yellow ribbon.

To learn more about the possible outcomes from government shutdown, please view Military pay hangs in the balance in government shutdown negotiations

To learn more about the bill that is making its way through legislation to protect military pay, please view Bill to protect military pay in the works